Monthly Archives: December 2008

Finishing Off 2008. Good Riddance.

Projects undertaken in the Unfocused household in the waning days of 2008:

  • I made a shield for Unfocused Girl’s impromptu Athena costume, using a cardboard cake circle and duct tape.
  • Mrs. Unfocused hung Unfocused Girls’ giant paper mache sea creatures from the ceiling of the kids’ room.
  • I started a new short story, because I need a break from outlining Project Hometown and I wasn’t at my desk to work on the revisions of Meet the Larssons.
  • Mrs. Unfocused made a quickie Bolt birthday cake for Junior.  No pictures — I’ll post photos of the more elaborate one she’ll make for his birthday party in a couple of weeks.
  • We learned to play two of the games the kids got from Santa:  Clue, Jr., and the Scooby-Doo Haunted House 3D board game.
  • I started teaching Unfocused Girl how to play chess.
  • I made Junior cry by capturing one of his pieces when he demanded that I teach him chess, too.

We don’t have any particular plans for tonight — we’ll probably watch a movie with the kids, stage a fake countdown around 9pm, go outside and make some noise, then put them to bed and go back downstairs to have some champagne.  Or some more champagne.

Happy New Year to you and yours, and here’s hoping 2009 is a better year overall than 2008 has been.

Winter Sunday Stats #2: Guess I Have to Shave Tomorrow.

Sigh.  Five days off, and now back to work in the morning.  It’s been fun.  I’ll do a holiday wrap up soon, but the Unfocused family had a very nice Christmas.  Some quick stats:

On Running: Nothing today, but only because I put in 7 miles on the treadmill on Friday and 6.32 miles dodging ice and giant puddles outside on Saturday when it hit 60.  By the end of my run yesterday, the arch of my left foot was killing me, and despite Tylenol and some ice, it’s still sore.  I’m pretending it isn’t plantar fasciitis, and will try to run on the treadmill in the morning.  I’ve been slacking and it’s time to knock it off.

On the iPod: Most of the podcasters I listen to regularly seem to be on vacation for the holidays, which left me with some space on my Mini for the 9-hour audiobook Metatropolis, edited by John Scalzi.  I have listened to the stories by Jay Lake and Tobias Buckell, and I’m partway through Elizabeth Bear’s entry.  I’m enjoying it; I’ll try to post a review when I’m done.

On Writing: The usual excuses — work during the lead up to Christmas, family time during and after — abound, but I’ve gotten a little done on both of my works-in-progress since last Sunday.  I moved the needle on the revision of Meet the Larssons, if only from 107 to 110 pages revised.  Those three pages of the first draft now have eight pages of new, handwritten material sandwiched between them, though, so it’s more than it looks.  The outline of Project Hometown is up to 10,587 words.  My next step is an expanded plot synopsis, which I’ve essentially already done, so now I’m moving on to detailed character charts, although I’m not entirely sure what that means beyond figuring out the birthdays and descriptions of the main characters — I wrote up their goals, motivations, and storylines a couple of steps ago.

I’m thinking through my New Year’s goals and resolutions, and will of course post them when they’re ready, sometime around Groundhog Day.  I saw fellow Absolute Write forum denizen Jen at Scribbling has already posted her ambitious writing resolutions for 2009; maybe I’ll just copy hers, but cut everything in half.

Merry Christmas. Now I’m Ready for Your Stinkin’ Zombies.

The Mrs., who loves me and knows me all too well after more than 20 years together, put a box with this and this under the tree for me.  I am now ready for your basic zombiepocalypse, Obsidian blackout, or sudden change in the laws of physics.

Not to mention clearing out shrubbery and those annoying maple saplings that pop up by the compressors for the A/C every spring.

Here’s hoping you got something really useful for your gift-giving holiday of choice, and that you have a happy and healthy 2009, and that no one tries to eat your brain.

Stalking Santa.

NORAD tracks Santa. We love this.

Adam Sandler Still Rocks.

I’m too tired to post anything meaningful, so instead, I give you a live performance of a holiday classic:

Chappy Chanukah, everyone.

What Have I Done?

Everyone was doing it, okay?  I mean, that’s not why I finally broke down, it’s not the reason, or even an excuse, but everyone was doing it.  So how bad could it be?  Right? Right?

It was when I googled my own name — my own name! — and found two people there, with my name, but they weren’t me!

I have a very unusual name.  The idea that there could be other people with the same name didn’t shock me, I’d seen them before in search results, but they were always down low, maybe on the second page.

But these hits were high.  First page, near the top.  And they aren’t me!

So I did it.  Not because all of you are already doing it — don’t deny it! — but because people looking for me would already think I’ve done it.  So I decided I might as well.

But I didn’t know, I didn’t understand — the hours wasted, the time gone — now I know, but it’s too late.

God help me, I joined Facebook tonight.

Winter Sunday Stats #1: Brrrrrrrr.

Baby, it’s cold outside.  It was 6 below zero (Fahrenheit) at 9am when we left the house this morning for the Christmas Pageant and concert at church, 3 below when we left at 2pm, and is still 3 below now at 7:30pm.  That’s before wind chill.  We did have a salt truck come up our street last night around 11 while I was shoveling, but it has been so cold that the salt doesn’t have any effect.

Tomorrow, it’s supposed to go up to 11.  It goes to 11.

I did the world’s longest post yesterday, so I’m going to keep this short.  Here we go:

Running:  Not much lately, and none today — too much going on this morning.  Today was the Christmas Pageant at church, and Unfocused Girl gave an outstanding performance as the Archangel Gabriel (“Gabe,” to her friends, the Archangels Mike and Ralph).  It was also the annual Christmas concert, and Mrs. Unfocused was the soprano soloist; she sang Lauridsen’s O Magnum Mysterium, and then Benjamin Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols, as a soloist and with the choir.  She was — as usual — mesmerizing; she’s got pipes.

Yeah, I’m bragging on my wife and daughter.  Deal – it’s my blog.

iPod: I’ve been getting an education in writing science fiction and fantasy from the Odyssey Writing Workshop podcasts.  Odyssey is a six-week residential writing program for science fiction and fantasy writers, and they’re putting a number of lectures by established authors and editors from the workshops out as podcasts.  I don’t recognize all of the speakers, but they’ve mostly been very interesting.

Writing:  Not so much.  I’ve gotten some good work on the outline of Project Hometown (almost entirely during my commute), but I’m still mired in the character synopses for the minor characters.  I haven’t gotten much done on the revisions of Meet the Larssons, because evenings have been a little jammed.  I’m still on page 107 of the original manuscript, but I’ve written several pages by hand to be inserted there, so I’ve made at least a little progress.

As a side note, Agent Kristen at Pub Rants has posted her own statistics for the last year, and they’re very impressive.  Most impressive are these two:

2
number of new clients

35,000
estimated number of queries read and responded to (and yes, that is up from last year)

Two new clients out of 35,000 queries.  She’s just one agent of course; there are 424 agents listed at the Association of Authors’ Representatives website. Still, those are intimidating odds.  Happy New Year.  Time to get back to the revisions.

Happy Hanukah, everybody!